EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 5 Minutes With… Kachina

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Electronic trio Kachina’s fresh mix of grimy garage and bass-thumping house music has earned the Leicester band a spot on the line-up at Bass In The Park this year, as well as a growing following of fans who are finding in Kachina the same qualities that made them fall in love with seminal UK garage artists such as Tuff Jam, Artful Dodger and Todd Edwards.

Kachina have just released “Alright”, the first track off an end-of-February EP with the same name, a catchy, uptempo song featuring crisp vocals from nu soul singer Afua and a driving bassline that, interestingly, keeps shifting in tone as the song builds in intensity.

We spoke to Kachina about the UK drum and bass scene, the kind of music festival they’d put together if they had the budget, and finding inspiration from new pieces of equipment…

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

In the studio, working on some drum and bass, and ordering a new UA Apollo 16 soundcard.

For those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

House, garage and bass music from the spiritual realm.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

Our sound is more made up of lots of small influences from the UKG/Tuff Jam, House, Dub and World Music scenes, but we have been especially influenced by the sounds of:
El-B/Groove Chronicles
MJ Cole
Zed Bias
Todd Edwards
Massive Attack

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

Conducta have a great modern UKG sound, and Low Steppa have the 90s house vibe completely down. Paleman has deep production, lovely subs, while Champion keeps coming out with the best bass bangers. Benton is simply the king of 130bpm Jungle.

If we gave you the budget to put a line-up together for a mini fest, who would you book and where would you play?

Something like…

Room 1 – House and Garage: Marshall Jefferson, Chris Lorenzo, Midland, Wookie, Flava D, Kachina, Prangman, Boomdoc, Wisk, Mr Brains.

Room 2 – Drum and Bass: London Elektricity, Paul T & Edward Oberon, Fabio, SS, Soulful Nature, Cyclic and Leicester DJs like Cutz, APB, Kyzr/Bass Militantz.

Do you enjoy playing to an audience or working in the studio?

We love both. We do spend a lot of time in the studio, but there’s no point doing that if we can’t also perform our music. There’s no feeling like it. We’ve been releasing for just over a year as Kachina, so it’s early days still as far as DJing goes, but we are getting busier and hosting our own nights now, as well.

What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks in the studio? Or do you prefer to use software and plug ins?

We’re mainly using software. We’re in the process of upgrading to UA soundcards/Satellites with lots of plugins, and we also just got a Presonus192 card and new computers and better mics. We do have some hardware synths and samplers, but the only hardware used on our previous records was a Moog Prodigy and a few mics to record vocals and brass, and also a Zoom recorder for atmospherics. VST synths and effects have improved a lot in the past 5 years, and the UA kit has become standard among top mix engineers so we’re fine working ‘in the box’ (ITB). We use a lot of analogue/valve emulation, and most of our music gets analogue mastering so it still sounds warm.

Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?

Yes, very much. Mostly because we get the best inspiration from a new piece of equipment – the way it opens up new possibilities in term of composing for us. At the same time we’re far from being big studio gear collectors. We prefer to use all we have around at any moment, thinking about what to bring in next, or what to change up, in order to broaden our creativity.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

Our next release with Afua is out on Affectionate Grooves in a few weeks, and Prangman’s next EP (ft. Lyndsey Murray) is out on Migration soon. We’re playing on RinseFM, Marcus Nasty’s show, on Wednesday 10th May from 7-9pm, and we’re currently working on more collaborations with Afua, Lyndsey Murray, Nikki Marie, Boomdoc & DJ Raggs. You can stay on top of our gig schedule by checking our Facebook page.